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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Tampa Bay

(Tuesday, January 27th)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Montreal 3

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis each scored a goal and notched an assist, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Ryan Malone, Vinny Prospal and Steve Downie also found the back of the net for the Lightning, who have won three straight and boast a 6-2-0 record in their last eight games. Mike Smith made 31 saves to earn his 14th win of the season.

"We found a way to hang around and we had a great second period and it led to winning the game," said Smith. "You have to love the way our team competed tonight."

Maxim Lapierre scored twice and Carey Price stopped 19 shots for the Canadiens, who have lost three in a row and four of six overall.

"We haven't played well," said Montreal head coach Guy Carbonneau. "We started the game on a right note. We had really good chances to bury them early, but we let them come back. Our goalies are going to have to be stronger. We can't win games giving up four or five goals every game."

Trailing 2-1 after the opening 20 minutes of play, Tampa Bay erupted for three goals in the second period.

Lecavalier evened things up with a power-play marker at 2:49, and the Lightning reclaimed the lead as Prospal buried the rebound of a Lukas Krajicek point shot behind Price with 5:03 remaining.

Steve Downie lit the lamp with 2:52 left in the frame to give the Bolts a two- goal advantage heading into the third period.

St. Louis netted a power-play goal with 8:56 left in regulation for a 5-2 lead. Lapierre lit the lamp 22 seconds later, but Montreal couldn't get any closer.

Tampa Bay got on the board first. The towering Evgeny Artyukhin, who missed the final two games before the All-Star break serving a suspension for a knee- to-knee hit on Florida's Ville Peltonen, slipped the puck out front from behind the cage to the right circle for Malone, who beat Price on the glove side 3:08 into the contest.

The Canadiens then scored twice in a 51-second span to seize the lead.

After Lapierre was credited with a deflection on Andrei Markov's rocket from the left point with 7:15 played, Alex Kovalev, fresh off an MVP performance in front of his home crowd in Sunday's All-Star game, capitalized on a gaffe by Smith at 8:06 of the opening frame. Smith played the puck behind his net and tried to send it along the far boards, but Kovalev intercepted the clearing attempt and buried the puck into the open net.

The Lightning were awarded a penalty shot with 2:19 to play in the first after a Montreal player covered up the puck in the crease. Mark Recchi was the elected participant and Price came up with a huge save to keep his team on top.

Game Notes

Montreal forward Christopher Higgins returned to the lineup after missing the previous 19 games with a shoulder injury...Markov has registered at least a point in nine straight games (two goals, nine assists)...Tampa Bay finished 2- for-7 on the power play, while the Canadiens were 0-for-4. Montreal had scored at least one power-play goal in each of their previous eight contests.

01/28 00:10:09 ET

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